Founders Message: Best Buy

Roland Hopkins, New York Real Estate Journal

How to invest and get a quick return (or not). So what does someone do nowadays if they discover that they have some extra money? In the old days they would immediately deposit it in the bank and receive 3, 4, 5% interest. That was the quickest and easiest way until some poor sucker in the beginning of the 2008 recession ran to the bank to withdraw his savings and discovered that it was not all insured. Oops. Just a portion of it. Shame on him for never reading the small print. So I recently inherited a few dollars from a deceased aunt and was faced with the same situation. What do I do with it? Bank it? I don't think so. How about buy some stocks? The market has been coming back in a very healthy manner. However, I have always felt that stock investors should be willing to study the market daily and I admit I do not have the patience. Warren Buffet admits one of the main reasons he sticks to stock investments is that he can check on it daily, and quite often even hourly.

The greatest investment for an immediate return has always been the horse track. They print a daily newspaper (like The Wall Street Journal) telling the investors everything he/she could possibly want to know about each possible investment. Then the investor can (bet) invest and then own a piece of the horse for several minutes. If it wins, the investor receives an immediate return. Sometimes doubling, tripling, or even more on his original investment. He doesn't have to wait a week, a month, a year, or several years. But, even though that sounds good, I don't recommend it unless you just want to have some fun and don't mind watching your money go away real fast. So, I got real smart and tripped over a public real estate company that had just begun using TV advertising to promote itself and services. Ever heard of Zillow? They promote residential real estate, but in my mind when and if they ever went commercial, I would have a home run, especially since the company had finally discovered TV advertising. They had quietly gone public about a year earlier and had already doubled its value. So I bought some, and in less than a year I had almost doubled my money. Yay for me and yay for Zillow. When they enter the commercial real estate world my home run will be a grand slam. Oops! Is it possible that something can be too good to be true? Headline in last week's newspapers - Judge rules against Zillow newly appointed exec. Errol Samuelson who is now barred from performing many duties and is being sued by the National Assn. of Realtors (his former employee). So apparently Zillow smartly had hired this 20 year experienced exec., who by the way, was never asked by NAR to sign a non-compete agreement that should make him a very valuable employee for Zillow. But ----. If he can't reveal any of his knowledge. It sounds like a judge telling the Red Sox that David Ortiz can be on the team but he can't be a designated hitter. So here's the big question that I would appreciate you answering for me. Should I sell my Zillow stock and put the money in the bank, take it to the track, or buy a solid mutual fund? Your call!

Roland Hopkins is founder of the NYREJ, Norwell, Mass.

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Roland Hopkins
Rolly is the Founder of the New York Real Estate Journal. Rolly founded the New York Real Estate Journal in 1989. Rolly, of Plymouth, attended ...
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